Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Natural Stuff We've Tried for Eczema

Just a few more things that we wanted to share with you that might help with eczema...

Aloe Vera Plant

The aloe vera plant has soothing, healing properties and has been used for many years for burns and minor wounds. To use it, just snap off a leaf from the plant and squeeze out the clear (maybe tinted with a hint of green), gel-like substance and rub it on the skin.

This plant is also really easy to grow. It doesn't need much water or sunlight (and from experience from a person who is NOT good with plants, it's a plant that's very hard to kill - trust me, it survived ME). When applied, it does have an odor, but it's not very strong. Sometimes during a flare up, the aloe vera will actually make my skin more itchy after rubbed in. I think this is because of the way that it dries. I'm not sure. But I can use it in between flare ups to help with dry, flaky skin. The coolness of the gel from the plant is really soothing and helps calm the itch a little bit.

Uncooked oatmeal has been found helpful for its anti-itch properties. You can add some oatmeal to a bath (as is, or you can also grind it up finely with a blender or food processor), and it will help with the itch and soothe the skin. Hot water is irritating, so keeping bath water lukewarm is best. And be careful when getting out of the tub, because the oatmeal can make it slippery.
Using oatmeal does not work all the time, but when you're so super itchy and it seems nothing will help, give it a try. There are lots of lotions and creams for eczema now that contain colloidal oatmeal (this is the name for the finely ground oatmeal).

A couple of other natural remedies that we've tried:

Chamomile Baths and/or Compresses
Boil dried chamomile flowers and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. Strain it and add to lukewarm bath, then soak in the bath for 10 minutes. Or, if you don't want to add it to a bath, use the strained homemade chamomile tea and soak a clean cloth in it. Wring out the cloth and apply to affected area and leave on for 10 minutes.
Chamomile is said to help soothe pain, reduce inflammation and calm the skin. Honestly, this didn't work for my son at all. I think it's because he might be allergic to the flower! But we did try this, and it might very well work for others, so we thought we'd give it a mention.

Changing Your Diet
Back when my son was an infant, we found that he had multiple allergies. He was allergic to cow's milk, soy, and tons of other things. That meant, at first, that I had to change my diet (I was nursing). Even after changing my diet, though, there was very little improvement. We ended up having to ultimately give him Enfamil Nutramigen baby formula, and he was on a pretty strict diet for quite awhile until he grew out of some of his allergies.
Now that I've been diagnosed with eczema too (and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon) and Baby Girl has it, our family will be trying to adjust our diet and get back to more fresh fruits and vegetables. It's healthier that way anyway. It's how it should be. I'm even starting to collect more gluten free recipes as well, because it could help. We don't know until we try (again). We attempted to go gluten free before, but it didn't help much with my son (nothing really did) and were happy to give it up. It can be expensive! We'll give it another shot, because we've got nothing to lose. Why not? If you have any gluten free recipes to share with me, please do! 

We've tried SO many other things, but these are what we chose to share for now. If you missed the post on Natural Stuff We Love for Eczema, be sure to check it out here.

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Melissa at said...

Eczema is so hard! I think a regimen of natural products and healthy foods mixed with medicine is the way too go. I'm so sorry your family has to deal with it! It was torture for me as a little girl.

Holly said...

A big yes to oatmeal! Aveno has a great oatmeal bath that we use sometimes for our son. Never heard of Aloe Vera Plant before but will consider next time he gets a bad breakout. Changing seasons are always the worst time for him, when the temperatures are changing.

That's great you are thinking of changing your diet to help! The China Study and The China Study Cookbook are great reads. The first discusses the benefits of a plant based diet, with scientific studies showing dangers of different foods. The second has some great recipes.

Good luck with your changes! And wishing your family the best fighting eczema.

Sierra Calah said...

I have to try growing a Aloe Vera plant because I use the stuff all the time for a facial mask. Plus it helps that they are hard to kill because I'm also a plant killer! Haha.

Aubrey @ The Daily Simple said...

I'm right there with Holly's comments. The China Study and the film 'Forks Over Knives' are great information on nutrition, the best if you ask me.

I've been vegan since 2008 and whole foods plant-based since around 2009 and it's benefited my health in more ways than I can count. I hope the changes that you make do the very same. Cheers to you!

Denysia Yu said...

I have an aloe vera plant in my backyard. I use it whenever I burn myself cooking. It kind of smells like Chinese food to me. Haha.